(Bronx, NY) - As New York State continues to combat the troubling spread of monkeypox virus, State Senator Gustavo Rivera and several of his State Senate colleagues penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the federal government to remove barriers to treatment, namely to the TPOXX antiviral drug and ACAM2000 vaccine, and increasing transparency around JYNNEOS vaccine supply and distribution.
While protecting New Yorkers through vaccination to prevent infection must continue to be our first line of defense, effective treatment also plays a critical role in preventing the further spread of monkeypox. Senator Rivera’s office has heard directly from local health providers who have expressed concern about delivery of these treatments being hindered or delayed due to the administrative burdens required under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Investigation New Drug protocol.
“New York City is on the front lines combating the rapid spread of the monkeypox virus and it is critical that we use every tool in our arsenal to effectively contain the spread, including cutting red tape to deliver treatment options that are constrained by administrative hurdles,” said New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the NYS Senate Health Committee. “We urgently need to explore additional medical care options for monkeypox, including TPOXX and the ACAM2000 vaccine, if we are going to successfully safeguard New Yorkers from this virus.”
The letter, which is supported by 14 of his colleagues in the New York State Senate, also highlights the need for increased transparency around vaccine acquisition and distribution to localities to ensure local partners can stand ready. Following Governor Hochul’s emergency declaration on Friday, Senator Rivera commended her decisive action and acknowledged that this step will enable New York to be more fast-acting, especially if the HHS Secretary heeds the call to eliminate administrative barriers to care.